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The EU is currently funding the following project in Eritrea under its DeSIRA (Development Smart Innovation through Research in Agriculture) initiative (https://europa.eu/capacity4dev/desira ):

Climate Smart Agriculture Research and Innovation Support for Dairy Value Chains in Eritrea (CSARIDE)


The livelihoods of close to 70% of the Eritrean population are based on subsistence agriculture, which accounts for less than 20% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 20-30% of its commodity exports. The performance of the agricultural sector is hampered by over-reliance on traditional farming practices, environmental degradation, and climate change. These constraints lead to low levels of agricultural production and productivity.

The sector is further weakened by underdeveloped value chains, including the dairy value chain, which suffers from weaknesses in input supply, market access, a weak processing sector and low value addition. Over 50% of the total milk produced is sold informally in the local market and less than 20,000 litres are processed daily by five processing plants. Seasonality of demand linked to the two big local fasting seasons is a major problem for both farmers and processors. To date, agri-food research and innovation systems have failed to impact in a significant way on the lives and livelihoods of smallholder dairy farmers. This is due to problems such as inadequate public policies and government investments to create a favourable innovation climate in agriculture. As a result, major research gaps exist all along the dairy value chain from production to processing.

The CSARIDE project will promote market-led agricultural development, building on the experience of the Irish partners who have completed a pilot dairy project in Zoba Debub. The pilot project has been fully absorbed into CSARIDE with the overall objective of promoting inclusive, sustainable and climate-relevant transformation of the Eritrean dairy value chain to enhance food and nutrition security, reduce poverty, create job opportunities for young people, and promote resilience to climate change while mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.

 The project team comprises:

Teagasc, UCC, UCD, LUKE (Finland), Vita, Self Help Africa (SHA), Hamelmalo Agricultural College, (HAC), Eritrea, Ministry of Agriculture Eritrea (MoA), National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), Eritrea. This team is also working closely with the EU Delegation in Eritrea, with IFAD, FAO and ILRI.

More here: www.csaride.org